Nov 11 – Martin of Tours – Bishop + Theologian

Nov 11 - Martin of Tours

Martin of Tours
Bishop + Theologian
11 November 397

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From the Satucket Lectionary

Martin of Tours dividing his cloak in halfMartin was born around 330 of pagan parents. His father was a soldier, who enlisted Martin in the army at the age of fifteen. One winter day he saw an ill-clad beggar at the gate of the city of Amiens. Martin had no money to give, but he cut his cloak in half and gave half to the beggar. (Paintings of the scene, such as that by El Greco, show Martin, even without the cloak, more warmly clad than the beggar, which rather misses the point.) In a dream that night, Martin saw Christ wearing the half-cloak. He had for some time considered becoming a Christian, and this ended his wavering. He was promptly baptized. At the end of his next military campaign, he asked to be released from the army, saying: “Hitherto I have faithfully served Caesar. Let me now serve Christ.” He was accused of cowardice, and offered to stand unarmed between the contending armies. He was imprisoned, but released when peace was signed.

He became a disciple of Hilary of Poitiers, a chief opponent in the West of the Arians, who denied the full deity of Christ, and who had the favor of the emperor Constantius. Returning to his parents’ home in Illyricum (Yugoslavia, approximately), he opposed the Arians with such effectiveness that he was publicly scourged and exiled. He was subsequently driven from Milan, and eventually returned to Gaul. There he founded the first monastary in Gaul, which lasted until the French Revolution.

In 371 he was elected bishop of Tours. His was a mainly pagan diocese, but his instruction and personal manner of life prevailed. In one instance, the pagan priests agreed to fell their idol, a large fir tree, if Martin would stand directly in the path of its fall. He did so, and it missed him very narrowly. When an officer of the Imperial Guard arrived with a batch of prisoners who were to be tortured and executed the next day, Martin intervened and secured their release.

Martin of ToursIn the year 384, the heretic (Gnostic) Priscillian and six companions had been condemned to death by the emperor Maximus. The bishops who had found them guilty in the ecclesiastical court pressed for their execution. Martin contended that the secular power had no authority to punish heresy, and that the excommunication by the bishops was an adequate sentence. In this he was upheld by Ambrose, Bishop of Milan. He refused to leave Treves until the emperor promised to reprieve them. No sooner was his back turned than the bishops persuaded the emperor to break his promise; Priscillian and his followers were executed. This was the first time that heresy was punished by death.

Martin was furious, and excommunicated the bishops responsible. But afterwards, he took them back into communion in exchange for a pardon from Maximus for certain men condemned to death, and for the emperor’s promise to end the persecution of the remaining Priscillianists. He never felt easy in his mind about this concession, and thereafter avoided assmblies of bishops where he might encounter some of those concerned in this affair. He died on or about 11 November 397 (my sources differ) and his shrine at Tours became a sanctuary for those seeking justice.

The Feast of Martin, a soldier who fought bravely and faithfully in the service of an earthly sovereign, and then elisted in the service of Christ, is also the day of the Armistice which marked the end of the First World War. On it we remember those who have risked or lost their lives in what they perceived as the pursuit of justice and peace.

by James Kiefer

The Beatitudes – A Reflection

By The Rev’d Curtis Farr

IMG_1131“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

These statements that Jesus makes during his “Sermon on the Mount” are often referred to as the Beatitudes. They are counterintuitive—poor people, in spirit or otherwise, are not “blessed” or “happy,” not in my experience anyway. Nor are mournful, meek, hungry, or persecuted ones happy. In fact, in our culture, happiness is tied to the pursuit of getting more—more stuff, more friends, more likes, more, more, more!

But what if that pursuit is a distraction from something…more?

Among other things, Jesus introduced in these statements a completely new set of values—ones that lifted the lowly, offered hope to the hopeless, and marked the miserable with a sign of redemption.

Often we operate with a different set of values, so I wonder: what might happen if our quiet prayer, deep within our hearts, echoed the counterintuitive words of the Beatitudes? Would we be changed? Would we change the way we engage others? Would they be changed as well, and would the world change around us?

Nov 1 – All Saints

Nov 1 - All Saints

The Feast of All Saints
1 November

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From the Satucket Lectionary

[Note that these readings are from the old Episcopal Lectionary].

FIRST READING: Ecclesiasticus 44:1-10,13-14
(a commemoration of patriarchs, prophets, and other heroes of ancient Israel.)

Let us now praise famous men,
and our fathers in their generations.
The LORD apportioned to them great glory,
his majesty from the beginning.
There were those who ruled in their kingdoms,
and were men renowned for their power,
giving counsel by their understanding,
and proclaiming prophecies;
leaders of the people in their deliberations
and in understanding of learning for the people,
wise in their words of instruction;
those who composed musical tunes,
and set forth verses in writing;
rich men furnished with resources,
living peaceably in their habitations —
all these were honored in their generations,
and were the glory of their times.

There are some of them who have left a name,
so that men declare their praise.
And there are some who have no memorial,
who have perished as though they had not lived;
they have become as though they had not been born,
and so have their children after them.

But these were men of mercy,
whose righteous deeds have not been forgotten.
Their posterity will continue for ever,
and their glory will not be blotted out.
Their bodies were buried in peace,
and their name lives to all generations.

ALTERNATE FIRST READING: Isaiah 26:1-4,8-9,12-13,19-21
(“Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee…. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in the dust.”)

PSALM 34
(The Lord watches over those who trust in Him.)

EPISTLE: Ephesians 1:1-23
(The heavenly glory in union with Christ that awaits the redeemed.)

THE HOLY GOSPEL: Matthew 5:1-12
(From the Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” etc.)

PRAYERS (traditional language)
O Almighty God, who hast knit together thine elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of thy Son Christ our Lord: Grant us grace so to follow thy blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those indescribable joys which thou hast prepared for those who truly love thee: through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, in glory everlasting.

Almighty God, who by thy Holy Spirit hast made us one with thy saints in heaven and on earth: Grant that in our earthly pilgrimage we may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know ourselves to be surrounded by their witness to thy power and mercy. We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, in whom all our intercessions are acceptable through the Spirit, and who liveth and reigneth for ever and ever.

Almighty and everlasting God, we yield unto thee most high praise and hearty thanks for the wonderful grace and virtue declared in all thy saints, who have been the chosen vessels of thy grace, and the lights of the world in their several generations: for Abraham, the father of believers, and Sarah his wife; for Moses the lawgiver, and Aaron the priest; for Miriam and Joshua, Deborah and Gideon, and Samuel with Hannah his mother, and for all the holy patriarchs; for Isaiah and all the prophets; for the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ our Lord and God; for Peter and Paul and all the apostles; for Mary and Martha, and Mary Magdalene; for Stephen, the first martyr, and for all the martyrs; and for all other thy righteous servants, known to us and unknown; and we beseech thee that, rejoicing in their fellowship, encouraged by their examples, and aided by their prayers, we also may run with steadfastness the race that is set before us, and finish our course in faith; and that at the day of the general resurrection, we, with all those who are of the mystical body of thy Son, may be set on his right hand, and hear that his most joyful voice: “Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Grant this, O Father, for the sake of the same thy Son Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate.

PRAYERS (contemporary language)
O Almighty God, who have knit together your elect in one communion and fellowship, in the mystical body of your Son Christ our Lord: Give us grace so to follow your blessed saints in all virtuous and godly living, that we may come to those indescribable joys which you have prepared for those who truly love you: through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, in glory everlasting.

Almighty God, who by your Holy Spirit have made us one with your saints in heaven and on earth: Grant that in our earthly pilgrimage we may always be supported by this fellowship of love and prayer, and know ourselves to be surrounded by their witness to your power and mercy. We ask this for the sake of Jesus Christ, in whom all our intercessions are acceptable through the Spirit, and who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Almighty and everlasting God, we give you most high praise and hearty thanks for the wonderful grace and virtue declared in all your saints, who have been the chosen vessels of your grace, and the lights of the world in their times: for Abraham, the father of believers, and Sarah his wife; for Moses the lawgiver, and Aaron the priest; for Miriam and Joshua, Deborah and Gideon, and Samuel with Hannah his mother, and for all the holy patriarchs; for Isaiah and all the prophets; for the Blessed Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ our Lord and God; for Peter and Paul and all the apostles; for Mary and Martha, and Mary Magdalene; for Stephen, the first martyr, and for all the martyrs; and for all your other righteous servants, known to us and unknown; and we beseech you that, rejoicing in their fellowship, encouraged by their examples, and aided by their prayers, we also may run with steadfastness the race that is set before us, and finish our course in faith; and that at the day of the general resurrection, we, with all those who are of the mystical body of your Son, may be set on his right hand, and hear his most joyful voice: “Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Grant this, O Father, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate.


The litany of saints that follows is chanted annually at the Church of St. Stephen and the Incarnation in Washington, D.C., at the principal eucharist celebrating All Saints’ Day. It was composed around 1979, largely by William MacKaye, former religion editor of the Washington Post, though some of the images were taken from A Liberation Prayer Bookof the Free Church in Berkeley, California, and has been adapted here and there in the subsequent years. Naturally, the selection of names reflects the personal biases of the compiler. A selection by me would inevitably reflect my biases, if I had any, and if you adapt this litany for use in your worshipping community, the adaptations will reflect yours.

The litany is intended to be chanted in procession. The procession moves from station to station around the church during the singing of the verses of “For all the saints.” Each section of the litany is then chanted at a station. The final sections– to martyrs, to all saints, to Mary, and to Jesus–are chanted at stations in the center aisle as the procession makes its way toward the sanctuary. The litany concludes with the singing of the Gloria in excelsis. (The usual salutation and the Collect for Purity are omitted.)

A LITANY OF ALL THE SAINTS

Cantor Let us go forth in peace.
People In the name of Christ. Amen.

For all the saints, who from their labor rest,
Who thee by faith before the world confessed,
Thy Name, O Jesus, be for ever blessed.
Alleluia, alleluia!

Holy ones present at our beginnings:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Abraham and Sarah,
Isaac and Rebecca,
Jacob and Rachel and Leah,
makers of the covenant, forebears of our race:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Elizabeth and Simeon,
Joseph, Monica and Helen,
exemplars in the love and care of children:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
John the baptizer, map-maker of the Lord’s coming:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!

Thou wast their rock, their fortress, and their might:
Thou, Lord, their Captain in the well-fought fight;
Thou, in the darkness drear, the one true Light.
Alleluia, alleluia!

Holy ones who showed the good news to be the way of life:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Thomas the doubter;
Augustine of Canterbury;
Francis Xavier;
Samuel Joseph Schereschewsky;
all travelers who carried the Gospel to distant places:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Bernard and Dominic;
Catherine of Siena, the scourge of popes;
John and Charles Wesley, preachers in the streets;
all whose power of speaking gave life to the written word:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Benedict of Nursia,
Teresa of Avila;
Nicholas Ferrar;
Elizabeth Ann Seton;
Richard Meux Benson;
Charles de Foucauld;
all founders of communities:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!

O may thy soldiers, faithful, true, and bold,
Fight as the saints who nobly fought of old,
And win, with them, the victor’s crown of gold.
Alleluia, alleluia!

Holy ones who gave their lives to the care of others:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Louis, king of France;
Margaret, queen of Scotland;
Gandhi the mahatma, reproach to the churches;
Dag Hammarskjold the bureaucrat;
all who made governance an act of faith:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Peter of the keys, denier of the Lord;
Ambrose of Milan, who answered the Church’s summons;
Hilda, abbess at Whitby;
Robert Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln, protector of the Jews;
Jean-Baptiste Vianney, cure d’ Ars,
patient hearer of catalogues of sins;
all faithful shepherds of the Master’s flock:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Mary Magdalen, anointer of the Lord’s feet;
Luke the physician;
Francis who kissed the leper;
Florence Nightingale;
Albert Schweitzer;
all who brought to the sick and suffering the hands of healing:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!

O blest communion, fellowship divine!
We feebly struggle, they in glory shine;
Yet all are one in thee, for all are thine.
Alleluia, alleluia!

Holy ones who made the proclaiming of God’s love a work of art:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Pierluigi da Palestrina;
John Merbecke;
Johann Sebastian Bach;
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart;
Benjamin Britten;
Duke Ellington;
all who sang the Creator’s praises in the language of the soul:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
David and the Psalmists;
Caedmon;
John Milton, sketcher of Paradise;
William Blake, builder of Jerusalem;
John Mason Neale, preserver of the past;
all poets of the celestial vision:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Zaccheus the tree-climber;
Brother Lawrence;
Therese of Lisieux, the little flower;
Andrew of Glasshampton;
all cultivators of holy simplicity:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!

And when the strife is fierce, the warfare long,
Steals on the ear the distant triumph song,
And hearts are brave again, and arms are strong.
Alleluia, alleluia!

Holy ones haunted by the justice and mercy of God:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Amos of Tekoa, who held up the plumbline;
John Wycliffe, who brought the Scripture to the common folk;
John Hus and Menno Simons, generals in the Lamb’s war;
Martin Luther, who could do no other;
George Fox, foe of steeple-houses;
all who kept the Church ever-reforming:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Paul the apostle, transfixed by noonday light;
Augustine of Hippo, God’s city planner;
Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin, architects of the divine;
Charles Williams, teacher of coinherence;
Karl Barth, knower of the unknowable;
all who saw God at work and wrote down what they saw:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
John, the seer of Patmos;
Anthony of the desert;
Julian, the anchoress of Norwich;
Hildegarde, the sybil of the Rhine;
Meister Eckardt;
Bernadette of Lourdes;
all who were called to see the Master’s face:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Joachim of Fiora, prophet of the new age;
Johnny Appleseed, mad planter of Eden;
Sojourner Truth, pilgrim of justice;
Benedict Joseph Labre, priest and panhandler;
all whose love for God was beyond containment:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!

The golden evening brightens in the west;
Soon, soon to faithful warriors cometh rest;
Sweet is the calm of paradise the blest.
Alleluia, alleluia!

Holy ones who died in witness to the Christ:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Stephen the deacon, the first martyr, stoned in Jerusalem:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Justin, Ignatius and Polycarp, who refused the incense to Caesar:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Perpetua and Felicity, torn by beasts in the arena at Carthage:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley,
burned in Oxford:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Maximilian Kolbe and Edith Stein, put to death at Auschwitz:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
James Reeb, Jonathan Daniels, Michael Schwerner,
Medgar Evers, Viola Liuzzo, shot in the South:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Martin Luther King, shot in Memphis:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Janani Luwum, shot in Kampala:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Oscar Romero, shot in San Salvador:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Martyrs of Rome, of Lyons, of Japan, of Eastern Equatorial
Africa, of Uganda, of Melanesia,
martyrs of everywhere:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!

But lo! there breaks a yet more glorious day;
The saints triumphant rise in bright array;
The King of Glory passes on his way.
Alleluia, alleluia!

Holy ones of every time and place:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Glorious company of heaven:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
All climbers of the ladder of Paradise:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
All runners of the celestial race:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!

[The people may call out saints’ names]

Great cloud of witnesses:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!

Mary most holy, chief of the saints:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Mary most holy, yes-sayer to God:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Mary most holy, unmarried mother:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Mary most holy, gate of heaven and ark of the covenant:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!

From earth’s wide bounds, from ocean’s farthest coast,
Through gates of pearl streams in the countless host,
Singing to Father, Son, and Holy Ghost:
Alleluia, alleluia!

Jesus our liberator, creator of all:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Jesus our liberator, redeemer of all:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Jesus our liberator, sanctifier of all:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!
Jesus our liberator, the alpha and the omega, the beginning and
the end:
STAND HERE BESIDE US!

The Gloria in Excelsis is sung, and the eucharist begins.

by James Kiefer